tv [untitled] October 28, 2012 12:00pm-12:30pm PDT
>> it is my pleasure to introduce our moderate or this evening jennifer white ner, she came to san francisco m in 2001 and volunteered in many levels at the local, state and regional legalers. >> she volunteers as the leader of the voters of california and a small business owner san francisco. and olds a degree in government and a diploma in public policy from the university of edenburo >> thank you very much >> good evening, everyone, this election we have candidates for state senate district eleven, miss additionally, viewers from the it, brooke man community center
will submit questions on-line. the time keepers in the first row, will hold up a yellow card to signify to the candidates that they have 15 seconds remaining and will hold up a red card when it is time to stop. both candidates have agreed to ask their supporters in the audience to be respectful of the other candidate and others in the audience and to maintain quiet during the forum. i also ask you respect this commitment. you have many important decisions to make on november 6th. today's forum gives you the opportunity to ask questions to help you make decisions. now let's begin. >> we will start with question number one, miss difficult on. >> retire aoes in the public and private sectors are faced with nrets to benefits from under funded pen son funds what would you do to prevent this from arriving in the future how do you make everyone life up to
their obligations. >> let me thank the league by thanking you and the jr. league for hosting this event and very much thank the senator for participating. i know that there are a reasons here in san francisco where the result is a foregone conclusion according to many, politicians and i respect the fact that he respects the voters by attending this event. on your question regarding pensions, my husband is here in the audience and he is a retired beneficiary of a state pension program and so we very much think that the state needs to honor its obligations to all of the workers who did that program over the years and those are contractual obligations and i am an attorney and i do believe that those obligations need to be honored. however we have what the government has called a ponzi scheme and so there needs to be definitely a serious readjustment of the priorities in terms of making it more of a
private sector-funded type of pension benefit program going forward. >> thank you. >> mr. leno? >> let me also thank both leagues for bringing us together today and also it is a real pleasure to be here with miss dillan who is a great respectful of her party and an activist in the community. as i think that most californians know that we have spent a lot of time dealing with the issue of pension reform for the public sector workers and i think that we have reached a point where we can going forward deal with pensions in a much more sustain able fashion so that we won't see cities in particular having upwards of 25, 30 percent of the general fund having to go to pension obligations. of course, those promises already made must legally be adhered to. i have also said in a lot of time in this past year, looking at private sector employees in
publicly traded corporations, who have seen their benefits wiped out and in many cases actually stolen by top executives who are shifting significant amounts of money to their benefit at the expense of those workers. >> thank you, the time limits are tough, aren't they? >> the next question for mr. leno is state proposition 35, asks if the definition of human trafficking should be expanded and penalties for traffickers increased, convicted sexual trafers be required to register as sexual offenders and officers be trained and why. what is your view and why? >> the issue of human trafficking is a serious one, san francisco is one of the top cities in the nation experiencing this kind of crime. i authored a bill sponsored by our attorney general harris this past year, which expands
asset forfet tour, it is a way for us to quickly gain resources so that we can provide services for victims and invest in greater public safety police officers and investigator to deal with these crimes. i am opposed to prop 35, number one because the author of it is the single individual, deep pocket putting this forward. it is not a citizen's initiative. never came to talk to me what was wrong or short with our bill that he had to go to the ballot and expanding the definition to those who have to register as sex offenders to include those who have not even committed a sex crime, i think delutes the benefit of our sex registry. >> i think that the support for 35 is a no-brainer. i support 35. i do agree that the problem with sex trafficking in our society in california is a very
significant one. in san francisco is frankly the epi center of sex trafficking industry. and i find it interesting that the attorney general participated with the senator in his abnormal legislation and she did not do much about sex trafficking when she was the district attorney in the city and so, i walked to work through china town through russian hill and i pass sex dens every day and i wonder why the police don't do anything about it. we need more boots on the ground and will at the political level to enforce the law and appears that we need state level support as well. >> thank you, so this is a big picture question. miss dillon. >> what do you think that the legislature can do to address the systemic problems with the finances. >> that is a big picture question, it is a tough question. i think that in the long term a lot of the problems that we have here in the budget relate to the ease at which citizens
can put ballot box budgeting measure into his our state rule books and they don't sunset and the legislature has increasing little control as well as the government what can and cannot be cut every year. this is a problem that is not caused by democrats or republicans or the structure of our system. that is one thing that i would try to change is have legislation passed that would allow any such provisions that are sponsored by citizens and maybe even provisions that are sponsored by legislatures such as a senator to sunset or be examined regularly by some type of a commission. as to whether they remain valid. that is the big picture, but the other big thing that the state needs to do is recognize that we need to cut, cut, cut. and reenvig rate what our priorities are. the example is education verses the bullet train, i don't think that we can have both right now. >> thank you. >> mr. leno? >> yes. what i have learned through ten years of working in the state
legislature, is we have a very serious and significant governor nans problem and that is two-thirds vote requirement on the most important issue of the day which is revenue. we have seen our revenue cut significantly by taxes that arnold schwarzenegger cut his first day in office. we have a depoll that prop is trying to refill it. we should not have to do it at the ballot box when out of 40 state senators 14 have more power than 26. 14 can veto when 26 want. i tell fifth graders that and they say that is not democracy that is not possible. that is exactly the problem, we don't have democracy on all issues, revenue-related in the legislature, let the majority party do its job and if the voters don't like what the majority party is doing in no one jerry man dered districts change who is in power, it is
call democracy. >> continuing on the theme of democracy, and how people engage with their elected officials and with government generally, clearly civic engagement is critical for a safe, strong and a vibrant state and i am curious what you have done and what you will do to encourage appropriate participation in democracy. >> i think that we could probably most simply define participation and democracy aside from community hearings and gatherings is the opportunity to vote. and i have sponsored any number of bills that address the expansion of making it user for people with very busy lives who are probably operating sometimes in languages not their mother tongue to be able to cast a vote. we have seen across this country, the legislature is put
in place, more and more hurtles so that people are disenfranchised and not able to get to the polls and we don't see that happening here in california. but certainly supported the same-day registration, on-line registration and unfortunately, these kinds of advancements, expansions of the voter franchise often pass on party-line votes. >> thank you. >> and what have you done or what will you do to encourage civic participation? >> what i have done is run in this race i ran four years ago and i am the chairman of the republican party and i am very active in my community as a first generation immigrant and encouraging people in the communities to register to vote and i think that the right to vote is the most precious right of a democracy and a citizen. i think that people don't vote despite the ease that occurs here in california for them to vote because they feel like their vote won't make a difference.
they feel like what is going on in sacramento is not affected what the people think, it is what the unions and special interests think, people don't bother to come and vote because their vote does not count. the main thing that i would dow if i were in the legislature is push for a part time legislature. i think that one of the problems that we have is that the legislators like senator leno who started out as a small businessman and knew what it was like to be in that position, they gradually lose that in vying to get reelection. >> 40 other states have part time and i think that california needs to look at that as well. >> thank you. >> i am going back to questions about the current state propositions. proposition 37, seeks to require labeling on foods, containing genetically modified ingredients when the food, raw or processed are offered to sale to consumers in california, what is your position on this miss dillan?
>> i think that it is a good idea in principle and i think that it is a good idea that the market is amplely equipped to take care of my husband and i personally shop and look for foods that are fish, for example, that is caught in california, and caught in the sustainable mat and her that is our choice and we pay more for that. at the same time, there are a lot of people who would like the choice to be able to buy those gmo, products and the labeling that is required by the proposition is very flawed in my opinion. it treats dog food in the same way as it treats food for humans. and it is defining the genetically modified in such a way that heirloom tomatoes that are a mix of old tomatoes seeds would fall under from category. while i support the idea that i would like to know personally where my food comes from we being not ignore the huge cost, and i oppose it and i welcome them do come back with more
legislation in that regard. >> i was an early endorser of prop 37. it is quite amazing to me that 50 percent of the population on this planet buys products, food products, that have this kind of labeling, the prop 37 would require for california already on their packages. disclosure is good. people, consumers should have the opportunity to make choices. there are some who will not have concern with genetically modified products and they will be able to purchase food knowingly. but those who do have concerns, currently are in the dark and cannot make that choice. and so, if it is good enough for china, it is good enough for russia and the european union, i think that it is good enough for california but for the entire united states of america and california will take a great lead in passing this in november. but we are going to see about
35 million dollars spent to fight the likes of monsanto and other corporations against it. >> so you both touched on it when you were answering that question, the role of government and what is appropriate and i am curious more of a general question, starting with you mr. leno. what do you think that the government should do and when should the government step aside? >> certainly. >> one of the most important roles of government, and for state government is to provide public safety and i think that goes beyond just the police and fire protection, but also to make sure that we keep our air safe. that we keep our water clean and drinkable, which is not the case in many parts of the state right now. that we make sure that our food is safe as well. and so, that is where regulation does come in.
there is also, when you ask where the government should step aside, we work on a bill this past year which reforms the regulations for permitting of solar installations for residents and commercial properties. this impedes the expansion of a great industry that is employing more and more people, that can provide more and more tax benefit to the state. that is where the state should step aside and we could have a uniform regulatory process, lower fees. >> thank you. >> i agree with the senator that public safety is one of the few, in my opinion that the government should have control over in our lives. but i wonder why the senator is a support of the trust act that senator amiano supported that tried to prevent the state from returning illegal aliens who commit serious crimes including gang violence from being deported from this country,
that is a public safety issue that all of us who live in san francisco have to deal with every day. so i really question whether one can square one of those statements with the other. i believe in the natural law from john stewart mill and other philosophers that our rights do not flow from the government, the government's rights and the government's rights flow from the citizens. and so the government should have as limited a scope as possible, not and interfere with business and not interfere with our privacy and not spy on us and generally keep the public order and that is about it. >> thank you, so following up on that one of those things that the government is involved in right now is the educational system. and california used to have an education system that was the envy of the nation. how do you feel we get that back? >> well, it is a tragedy that what used to be one of the top systems in the country is now i think, 47th according to a recent standard that i saw. the senator and folks in his
party in sacramento believe that spending more is the answer. that is clearly not the case. i think that los angeles county they spent $9,000 per student in public school system. the average cost of private school $6,000. i support the voucher system that allow the parents to put the children in charter schools, private schools, what we cannot escape is that the school system is broken, again, let's ask the senator, why did the senator support, why did the senator oppose legislation that one of his fellow democrats proposed that would remove dangerous teachers that were convicted of crimes from the classroom and from the public roles? i would like to know the answer to that. >> thank you. mr. leno. >> the 47 out of 50 states figure that miss dillan used is not in educational out comes it
is in per pupil. we rank 47th. >> as a result we rank 50 as the number of counselors and the number of nurses in our schools and the number of libranias in. you get what you pay for. >> our state has been starved for cash for the past ten years as a result of tax cuts the state could not afford that the prior governor put on the credit cards. we need to provide significantly more funding not only through k-12 education which is the birth right of every child to be able to get a quality public education in my opinion and to be able to pursue the dream of a higher education and that is getting further and further out of the reach of children in california because the state does not support education. we need funding, we need to spend it on education. >> so, therefore, do you think that community colleges should
perhaps change their focus? one idea is to focus on retraining unemployed workers and upgrading skills for new jobs. do you feel that the state should encourage this? and how? >> if you are making reference to the challenges facing the san francisco community college at this time, i think that there are going to be some very painful and although, necessary, redirection of focus. we have been providing a lot of classes, non-credit classes and classes that don't need to further training for new employment. or for the opportunity to pursue a 4-year degree. and given that, upwards of 40 percent of all new jobs created in the next 20 years are going to require a bachelor's degree and only about 32 percent of californians will have one. we are going to have to refocus, particularly at community college level again, with limited resources to
assist those who are moving from one career to another. mid career as a result of the changing economy so that they can get new skills that they will need and for younger people who want to get into the job market to help them to be able to get on a path that will get them that bachelor's degree. >> i agree with the senator that the retraining is a important aspect of the educational system here. i think city college here in san francisco falls into entirely different category or problems that don't afflict some of the other community colleges around the state. beyond that, however, we have to recognize that college in and off itself is not necessarily suitable for all students and we have to recognize that at an earlier age, we should have more vocational type of training tracks in our high school education as well. people want to go straight from high school into auto mechanic or green jobs such as installing solar technology, things like that. that should be an option, as
well. i think that it is a fallacy that every citizen or every resident of california needs to have a college education. >> so i have a question, here from the room. governor brown vetoed both the trust act and the domestic worker's bill last week, how do you feel about those pieces of legislation which are critical to the immigrant community? >> i think that the problem that the governor articulated with the trust act is the one that i just articulated two questions ago, it excludes large categories of serious crimes from the purview, meaning that people from the members of the gangs and convicted as such as well as other serious victim naturals are under the purview of the trust act and not subject to deportation, i think that it is wrong and ignores the rights to the citizens. >> with regard to the domestic workers i am an attorney who helps workers, and enforce their rights on the federal and state law and i think that it is important that those rights be respected.
he posed the question to the authors of that law in vetoing it as to what is the impact going to be on some of the elderly and the sick who rely on home care workers in particular, and i guess the governor, a democrat found that legislation to be too broad, too enerous and em posing more requirements on the small businesses than was necessary and asked that a more tailored and more appropriate set of legislation come back to him on that subject and i would agree with that. >> mr. leno. >> i supported both of those bills with regard to the domestic workers' rights bill. we heard so many horror stories in the committee hearings. if you could imagine being in the employment and not being able to take the kinds of breaks for meals and for rest, even to have an 8-hour workday, it is a different kind of employment, so it is not as easily tailored to the kind of worker protection rights that we expect in every other
industry. so it is a delicate and challenging subject. i would imagine that maniano will come back with a refined version of the bill working with the administration in hopes of getting a signature because it is not an issue that can be ignored. >> with regard to the trust act, the governor was specific in his veto message that he thought that the definition of non-violent crime needed to be further refined but certainly for those who are committing low-level crimes that the risk that they would have to be sent back to a country which means nothing to them at this point through the federal government is something that needs to be reformed. >> thank you. >> ending with the theme of public safety, our final question, is that the state proposition 36 seeks to amend california law to provide that a life sentence should not be imposed for a third felony conviction unless it is for a
serious or violent felony, and what is your position. >> i spent a lot of time my ten years in legislation working on criminal justice reform to make sure that we have saner drug laws and we don't see the spending grow from 5.2 to over ten percent surpassing the amount that we spend on higher education as a completely wrong track that we are on. thanks to corn brown we have turned the corner and with realignment we will be reducing that percentage of funding on the criminal justice so that we can spend it on education which is the best crime preventive tool known to human kind. i am a strong supporter of prop 36 and i supported the earlier version in 2004 when only because of wise that arnold schwarzenegger said in a television commercial that it was mathematically impossible
and factually inaccurate and he said it on television and we saw the support go from 65 percent down to 48 percent in two weeks. it is currently polling in the 60s, i hope that it passes. >> thank you. miss dillan. >> i support it as well. and i am an attorney but i am a civil attorney, but speaking to prosecutor and judges, they agree that the instance of the three strikes law requires a lot of criminals to go to trial who would not otherwise because they have nothing to lose by rolling the dice. and so, it does not pose a cost at a criminal justice system but beyond that it is a moral matter that we have a problem as a society to sending someone to life in prison for a jonvaljon type of crimes and stealing a loaf of bread. i trust the judge to make the
right in sentence and they should be given better discorrection in that regard. >> the reform of the death penalty is another issue, that you have to question where the dollars are being spent as to whether that is a good use of our resources. >> now we come to the closing statements. let me first remind you all that if you are not registered to vote, please do so right away and please urge your friends and family to regular as well. the deadline is coming up. monday, october 22nd, and remember, that if you have moved, you need to register again at that new address, if you have changed your name you need to reregister. so we will do the candidate's closing statements in reversal fa bet cal order. you have two minutes and our timers will give you the cards and first mr. leno. >> certainly, it is now in california, here in san francisco for the past 35 years. starting small businesses in
1978 and coming into public service in 1998. the 14 years that i have had the elective office have been a rare and privilege opportunity to serve, which i think is to be the best districts of the state of california, and the city and county of san francisco, this past couple of years in the sonoma county as well and going back and representing the west tip as well. and i want to continue to make sure that we have a strong government, strong and effective state government. and i have talked about the governor nans issue, making sure that we let the majority rule so that we don't have the kind of stall mates that we find currently where the minority party can block what the majority wants to do and so we can have the democracy. i make the point that we didn't become the 8th or 9th largest economy in the world by chance. we became so because for
generations we taxed ourselves appropriately and invested in some of the best public structures this world has ever seen, the best k-12 system, the most accessible and affordable higher education system so that children can pursue the hope and dream of a college degree. we invested in water system and transportation systems that works, parks that drew the best and the brightest from around the world so they could pursue their own here in the golden state. unfortunately we lost our way some years back, we got a strong governor who is experienced and i believe is getting us back on track. i want to be able to work with him and have the privilege to represent this district, again for a second term. so that we can continue the good work that we started. thank you. >> dillan
>> i am a first generation immigrant and i came from india and from the south, and i am a civic attorney and i believe in the american dream and as it is exercised here in the beautiful city of san francisco and the state of california where i chose to live, but many california voters are voting with their feet and they are voting with their feet to leave the state of california. they are moving to nevada, texas and other parts of the country where they are less taxed and regulated and less burdened by rules such as calorie count on the menus such as the regulations regarding home care workers, it does not make sense to start a new business here in california. and frankly that is where the taxes come from in most states they come from businesses. as the businesses flee you are going to see the tax base flee and as legislatures such as senator leno continue to pass more legislation